31 / 08 / 18
In this edition of Interfaith Voices, Sabah Choudhry shares details of her experience of the recent Islamic religious festival Eid and explores how the occasion brings people and diverse communities together. Sabah hopes from this blogpost, you can get a clear insight into the simple nature of Eid and how it helps to strengthen relationships with communities, family members and friends.
The most memorable Eid prayer for me was about seven years ago when I went to Saudi Arabia for the holy pilgrimage Umrah that Muslims do. We happened to be there towards the end of Ramadan and were blessed to be able to celebrate Eid in one of the holiest cities in Islam, Madinah. I remember going to the Masjid an-Nabawi (the Prophet PBUH’s mosque) which was populated to the gates and feeling overwhelmed by a sea of people from a variety of different backgrounds. It was lovely to see so many happy people in one place and the atmosphere was filled with celebration.
The morning of every Eid involves the Eid prayer where Muslims of different ethnic backgrounds unite in the mosque and pray together. This gives us a chance to spread our well-wishes to others who aren’t in our immediate circles that we wouldn’t normally see. Food is also an important part of Eid for many Muslims and I know my day revolves around house-hopping and eating so much that I don’t feel like ever eating again.
Muslims all over the world gather on this special occasion to enjoy an array of cuisines, spend time with friends and family and receive money or in this case meat to represent a historic sacrifice. Eid-al-Adha is special for being an opportunity to give back as Muslims across the globe sacrifice a lamb or sheep. This ritual represents the famous sacrifice prophet Abraham made for God when he was ordered to kill his son, and before it was too late, God came to Abraham and gave him a sheep to sacrifice instead. I decided to step out of the kitchen – my aunt separated the raw meat into plastic bags before we distributed the meat to the poor, our neighbours and family.
Around Eid time, there are also a variety of festivals which take place across the country. In Southall, there was an Eid mela which included music as well as stalls enabling people to do their last-minute Eid shopping. The mela brought together people of all faiths and backgrounds and didn’t limit performances to Muslims only. There were Sikh members of the community attending and performing too!
Eid is a joyous and simple occasion which brings families and communities together who might usually be busy in their own day-to-day lives. Every Eid, I get to see my cousins, aunties, uncles and grandparents who I miss a lot because of living in a different city. This is one of the reasons why I will never get bored of Eid (as well as the delicious food).